Black Friday shopping: Area shoppers find deals at stores

Nov. 25—Early morning rain did not stop shoppers from trying to get Black Friday deals at area stores.

Many first time Black Friday shoppers waited in line Friday before local stores opened at 5 a.m. and later, with individuals seeking discounts on televisions, electronics, and sporting goods. Area businesses also offered giveaways to the early morning customers, some who waited hours to be among the first in line.

Approximately 100 shoppers filed into Cabela's in Centerville when the doors opened for Black Friday deals at 5 a.m., while smaller crowds were out at businesses like Best Buy.

"I came out just for the sale, just for Cabela's," said Jim Stewart of Riverside. Stewart said he does not typically do Black Friday shopping, but he came out to see the deals Cabela's had on fishing supplies, apparel, and other items.

Some of the earliest shoppers waited outside Cabela's, which sells hunting, fishing, and camping supplies, for deals on firearms, some of which were up to $150 off their regular price. Braiden Thompson and Jordan Young, both from Sidney, were among some of Black Friday shoppers who were at Cabela's for those deals, along with Todd Bunnell of Franklin. For Bunnell, this was his first time doing Black Friday shopping, and for Thompson, this year was his first year waiting in line on Black Friday.

Other shoppers stopped by for in-store giveaways and discounts off of special holiday gift cards.

"It's always good for free money," said Cindy Curry of Beavercreek. "They've got some pretty good sales going on, so it's a good time to buy."

Mike Adlesh, general manager for Cabela's, said they had a great turnout on Friday morning even with the weather.

"Despite the rain, we've got a lot of customers coming out," Adlesh said. "We're just the place to be this year for Black Friday for the whole family."

Fred Sink was one of the first Black Friday shoppers to arrive at Cabela's, arriving at approximately 10 p.m. Thursday evening. He said other shoppers started trickling into the parking lot at around 3 a.m.

"The guys in there were great," Sink said. "We got gift cards. I think the first 200 or so people in line got gift cards."

This was also a new experience for Sink, a first time Black Friday shopper, and he said it was fun and that he would do it again.

The Ohio Council of Retail Merchants and researchers from the University of Cincinnati told the Dayton Daily News this week they expected a 3.4% increase in holiday spending this year, which is a lower increase than previous years but still the 10th year of continued increases. In previous years, retail sales growth in Ohio was 13.2% between the 2019 to 2020 holiday spending season and 6.4% between the 2020 to 2021 holiday spending season, according to the 2022 Holiday Retail Sales Forecast.

"Black Friday and Cyber Monday continue to be two great shopping days," said Gordon Gough, president and CEO of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

While still a smaller increase, this is the 10th year in a row for Ohio to see an increase over the previous shopping season.

"It's a good sign of stability in the Ohio economy," said Gene Pierce, a member of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

Brad Evans, U.C. Economics Center director of research, said the smaller increase was due to Ohio not rebounding as quickly as other states following the pandemic. The National Retail Federation is estimating an increase of 6-8% nationally in holiday spending.

"We still have not yet recovered all of the jobs that were lost," Evans said this week. Despite jobs not bouncing completely back yet, wage growth is still outpacing inflation, Evans said. Researchers found there was a 12.3% increase in wages and salaries between the first quarter of 2020 and the second quarter of 2022.

Ohio's retail industry accounts for 18% of Ohio's gross domestic product, approximately $26.5 billion annually, and the retail industry directly or indirectly employs 1.5 million people in Ohio, or one in four jobs.

Best Buy near the Dayton Mall saw approximately 30 shoppers waiting through the rain to shop deals on televisions and monitors.

"We're just getting something for cheap," said Carter Miller of Middletown, who was waiting in line with Blake McIntosh and Jaden Patterson.

Many of the shoppers tried waiting in their cars to avoid the rain but got in line outside the doors as more people gathered to wait for Best Buy to open.

For another group of friends waiting nearby, this was their first time shopping early Black Friday deals, having previously shopped on Thursday evenings after Thanksgiving.

"Best deals in town," said Cody Harsman of Dayton. Ben Johnson of Centerville said they were there to look at TVs.

"They were the earliest building open," said Grace Rudolph of Centerville. "This is my first year."

It was also the first year for Black Friday shopper Kayla Hartley of Cincinnati, who said she did not usually shop that early.

The Ohio Council of Retail Merchants said many retailers have shifted from opening doors Thursday evening to going back to just waiting until Friday morning, which also offering other channels of shopping prior to Black Friday, like online deals.

"We usually go at 6 p.m. on Thursday," said Harsman. "Kind of miss it."